Free and reduced lunches gaining popularity during tough times

By Rebecca Lane - bio | email

MARMADUKE, AR (KAIT) - During these tough times, schools are seeing a rise in free and reduced lunches.

Marmaduke Superintendent Tim Gardner feels that utilizing the government's free and reduced lunch program can help not only the student, but their families immensely.

"A lot of people around here have been laid off from different factory jobs and things, " He explains, "it's just been tough all around Greene County."

Since he began working at Marmaduke, Gardner says he has seen a steady increase in the amount of applications received.  When he first began, the number of students receiving free or reduced lunches was at around 53%.  Last year, that number was up to 57% and Gardner expects the rise to continue. He feels that this program ensures students are getting meals, so he hopes the increase will continue.

He knows the economy is to blame for the popularity in the program.  Even during this recession, however, he says those eligible for this program choose not to apply.  Gardner says some families feel as if they are accepting a handout.

He encourages families to take the help if they are able to.

"I just think it's a good opportunity to save money, especially in these hard economic times."

Applications are still being accepted for the reduced and free lunch program.  Once the application is received,  eligibility is based on the number of members in the home and the income received.

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